When people talk about the number twenty-five, I think about things like mortgages, roof life and how much I enjoyed my middle-twenties. However, the latest association I have made with this number belongs to Philips‘ newest – and the world’s most powerful – light-emitting diode, dubbed the Wonder LED by the press.
This is the first LED designed to replace a 60 watt incandescent lamp by simply screwing into the existing fixture. It has also been designed to emit a similar soft white light to appeal to consumers’ tastes. Once the price becomes competitive – there were no indications how much these would cost when marketed – they will certainly give our grown-up CFLs a run for their money.
Today’s compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) last ten times longer than incandescents, reduce energy consumption by 75% and the cost is within the acceptable’ range for the average, energy-conscious, American consumer. Click here for more.
The previous issue of buzzing has been solved by replacing the magnetic ballast with an electronic one. Also, although turning CFLs on and off frequently might shorten their life, the energy efficiency remains unchanged. In fact, the simple act of switching out incandescents to CFLS (or LEDs) has a pretty profound affect. According to Philips’ website:
“Changing a light bulb does make a difference. Worldwide, lighting consumes 19% of electricity. Every incandescent lamp we replace with an ENERGY STAR®–qualified bulb saves approximately 75% in energy consumption. They can last up to 10 times as long as traditional incandescents, so resources are also conserved in manufacturing, transportation and building maintenance.
Conserving energy through this simple act creates ripples affecting our community, nation and the entire earth. We’re reducing the pressure to build new power plants and generating less waste for our landfills. And most important of all, we’re cutting the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.”
Candidly, reading that last passage increases all my endorphins for the day. Like most energy-aware people, I use CFLs at home. I don’t find this a problem, but they do have one drawback: the need to be separately recycled because there are minute amounts of mercury used in their technology. Although a bit inconvenient, this is less of a problem now that retailers have CFL recycling at their stores – the trendsetters were Ikea and Home Depot.
CFLs have been more popular than LEDs for two reasons. They are priced within a typical consumer acceptance range and our incandescents could be easily switched out and the new lamp switched in. LEDs may still be in the pricey range, but this new bulb will switch in easily now too.
Philip’s new LED reduces energy use by 80% (besting CFLs’ 75% reduction) and not only works with dimmers (a style issue that some could not get past with the old CFLs) but it lasts twenty-five times longer!
Of course, if you understand that terminology, you probably don’t need to be reading this post. When can you get one? Probably by Hannukah or at least Christmas, as they are expected to become available in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Clearly there’s only one group I can think of that might not be thrilled. In fact, I offer my deepest sympathies to orthopedists everywhere. After all, if we only need to change those lightbulbs every 50 years, who’s going to fall off a ladder?